Cornice Boards and drapery work room...

 I am tickled with the cornice boards I made for my sewing room. Honeyman built them for me and I upholstered them a couple weeks ago...  finally yesterday got the trims on them. I used three different trims :O).  I wanted something colorful and fun for my sewing room. I think they fit the bill!

            Beaded trim, furry trim and braid trim on top... Just so fun!

 Finished my drapery table, almost. Still have to put the yellow tape measures in the metal tracks down the sides... its a two man job... honeyman will help me this weekend. Need four hands to get them on.
   Loving my commercial machine.
                                 Used cubby area to put small sewing desk with my serger machine or if I want to move my light weight machine over there to simply piece a quilt and look out the window I can!
 This end of room looks a bit of a mess, but its not LOL...  Machines, jobs being worked on. A duvet cover, some zipper bags etc. Quilting machine, embroidery machine and a light weight regular machine. This weekend will be getting some wood trim for the edge of that table so it looks finished!
It feels good to be back in the business. Yes I have been back in for the last almost two years working for the design studio, but it feels good to be back in on my own again too!

I was asked if there was a conflict of interest, me working for myself with my own clients and for a design studio that does this as well, the answer is no and here is why...

I am self employed at the design studio I work at. Where I do a job for them, I am not a full time regular employee. I work when jobs come in that have shades in them.  Roman shades, balloon shades, London shades etc. They needed someone to do that area.  Other people do other areas of work at studio. Then there are some full time regular employees of the studio as well.
I also do some computer work for them on a self employed basis.

I do not and would not solicit their clients.
They know I am working with my own clients as well. 
In this trade (Interior Design) its not unusual at all for a drapery work room to work with their own clients and to then work for several different designers as their "work room".
Actually a lot Interior Designers do not know how to sew at all. 
They may very well be fantastic at putting it all together but they cannot sew a lick and have no desire to know that end of the business, so they use drapery work rooms to do that end for them. 
A honest drapery work room does not solicit the clients of the designers they sew for.
So no, no conflict of interest. :O)

Not really new years resolution but.....

These are not really new years resolutions as much as a goal or maybe even hopeful thinking.
Be more organized with my time. thus creating a bit more time :O)

I am trying to think ok how can I do each task more effectively, or use less time or make it so I don't have to do it so often etc. 

Creating time is my goal. Time I can use for other things I want to do. 

Just to name a few.....There is my job then there is gardening and canning, taking care of Keeper and the goats, house chores and exercise, running and or other types of exercise.

 But I am determined to eek out a bit of free time for a couple other things.. one is for sewing, not work sewing but for me sewing!  I read several sewing blogs and I am just blown away by what those gals make for themselves! Everything from lingerie to outfits to coats, to..... well its amazing...

I want to create a bit more time :O)... Its hard when you want to do so many things LOL :O). 

I can't give up raising our food and canning, that is tied directly to our health so that is a must.
Exercise falls right in the same category.

Work well if you plan on keeping your  job you have to show up right :O)

But I am finding things already that I can do to create time and I am doing them. Today I spent about 2 hours doing a task that ultimately will create hours of time for me through out the year. That is the type thing I can do and am going to try to do. 

I would like some free ME sewing Time :O). 

What I have been doing...

Busy as usual, but I am still here.
Lets see since I last posted...
The onions appear to have survived our single digit wind chills, not all but a lot of them!
I upholstered my first pieces all by myself at the shop, two cornice boards that will be going in my sewing room at home. I will show them to you guys soon! I will be doing some furniture pieces next! Two chairs and ottomans that belong to us! They are in our living room... I am very excited about learning upholstery!
My drapery table is almost complete in my sewing room at home. Finally my upholstery staple gun arrived so we could put the cover on the table!

Thats what has gone on here... its been super cold for our area as many areas have experienced, nasty, and just yuck outside... so my outside time has been nearly none.. sighhhh

Oh and one more thing, I turned 50 years old on the 8th of January.... ya the big 50.. hard to believe in a way.

Mother nature likes to be sure you know who is reallllly in charge. :O)

Just when  your feeling kinda cocky about how on top of things you are ROFL.  Mother nature throws you a curve ball at you just to make sure you know who is really in charge. I admit I am not very good at checking the weather. I know a very bad habit for someone who gardens. I have been caught of guard more than once.

Well folks we are suppose to have a week of below normal temps for us. Now if it were not below and I mean well below freezing I wouldn't worry. Onions are tough right. They survive usually even freezes has been  my experience with them, but there is a freeze and then there is a FREEZE ya know LOL.. Plus my onions are fresh from the box they were shipped in and barely planted 24 hours, so not rooted in yet and sighhh well they are saying down to nearly high teens a couple nights this week... well great sighhhh.

So we had some thin painters plastic and I put that over them on top of tomato cages because lets face it they are barely standing up as I have them planted very shallow. Any weight would have sent them all over sideways.. Of course the wind was blowing and that darn plastic was going every where ....argghhh.. which yes knocked a few over but hopefully I will get to stand those back up and they will do ok.

Honeyman came out to help me and we got it clipped to the tomato cages and then he suggested that we put one of the shade covers which I had taken off the hoop frames to weight down the plastic.. I said brilliant

                                                          This is now my onion row.

                                    My helper in all things. Who also needs a bath realllllly bad. LOL
 Because I am itching to start seedlings and just had to plant a few things. I have artichokes in these and some swiss chard. I can hardly wait for time to start the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants etc!!!! Its just to early to start those yet, but soon, very soon!

Harvesting and preserving the onions

I was asked how I harvest and what I do with my onions preserving wise...
I harvest them when the tops start to turn yellow and fall over or if they start bolting and going to seed I pull them then. I lay them in the garage on the floor to dry out. I know some lay them outside to dry but between critters and sun that will scald them at that time of year. The garage is a much safer bet. I don't layer them in the garage. I lay them single file on the floor on cardboard or brown paper grocery bags to dry out. There they stay for several weeks and I have even left them there for longer. Then once they are dried out I cut off the dried tops and put them in a large cardboard box loosely inside in my pantry closet. Don't put them 2 foot deep in a box LOL. Just maybe three or four onions deep loosely in a box. My pantry closet is a cool dark space. They last quite a few months in there before they start to sprout.

These are the only photos I have of my onions drying. these were from a couple years ago. Yes the tops are a bit green on these but they were bolting and going to seed so had to pull them. They dried out fine.  Our garage is insulated and I think that helps. Its cooler in there than outside and the concrete floor is cooler so I think that is good. I would love to hang them up to dry somewhere but I don't have a place to do that. Not that is safe from critters! I also dry out my garlic in the garage for the same reasons.

I chop and freeze some, I don't have the freezer space to freeze to many. I dry some in the dehydrator. This way I have onions year around. The fresh ones will last months usually but eventually they will start to sprout. I have been lucky and usually only loose a couple to rot each year. Knocking on wood.

I was just telling honeyman last night... I am going to check the internet for canning recipes. There must be a canning recipe for canning jars of onions. I could use those in cooking easily.  If there is a way to can them which surely there must be...then I will can some this year as well, for putting into soups and such. I would like to chop them up and can them just onions if that is possible. I don't want to pickle them as that wouldn't work for cooking with in soups and such.  I would like to raw pack them then pressure can them? Anyone ever do this? If so would love to hear about it!

I looked in my canning books that I use most. They are older so you all do what you want on this. I am just passing on what is in them, its apparently not recommended now, so there is my disclaimer LOL.
So these are Kerr Canning books dated from 1943 to 1972  they say Peel, wash, boil 5 minutes. Pack in
quarts and pints, shows 40 minutes time  at 10 lbs pressure.  They even show hot water bath time but I will go with pressure canning. It does not say to cover with liquid. Pack within 1" of jar top it says. LOL well one book says within 1/2" of jar top and the other says 1" of jar top.

I would still like to hear about how anyone else cans onions :O).

Onions planted!

The day started out cold and damp but by afternoon the sun made a appearance. It was so good to see it after days of not! My onion plants where in the mail when I got home from work yesterday. Today I planted all six bundles 50-75 per bundle. Whew that was a job LOL. Given how ikky and cold the day started it wasn't the most pleasant job starting out either. 

                                              I couldn't get these guys in the big row so just stuck them in here.

I took all the shade covers off the hoop frames today as well. That was a bit of a job. But these guys need all the sun they can get :O). Plus My elephant garlic will appreciate the shade cover being off it as well. Just had not had time to get to them till today. This elephant is  some that would not fit in the bigger row I did in the back garden. It seems happy enough. 

These are the onions I am trying by what they call sets, I got them last fall and planted them. So far they are doing good. I will be interested to see what type onion bulb they make. They were the little onions that come in the bags with no stems just little bulbs. I was making something that called for green onions the other day, didn't have any but had these so I just whacked off some tops and they worked great as green onions.
My elephant garlic bed. Its doing nicely as well. 

Volunteer Swiss Chard. Its from last spring! Some of the plants that died back during the summer heat have come back to life. :O)

Sewing room rework, a bit long winded but posting when I can.

I have been in the process of getting my sewing room set up for drapery making as well as quilting and other sewing. Since going back to work in the Interior Design field, I needed to change my sewing room a bit. One thing missing was a drapery work table.  A must have if you are going to make window treatments. So honeyman built me a drapery table.  I was able to keep my large quilting table that he also built for me, its on the other end of the room which is in total disorder at the moment.

 As with anything there is more than one way to make a drapery table. Mine is more like what I used at the very first place I ever worked in Interior Design, some 25 years ago. I like the tac board on the table for pins. Some use this some don't. I like using the metal rulers with ruler pins instead of drawing lines on my table cover. Drawing lines just forces one to recover the table top more often. I also find the ruler is a good stopping point for fabric where drawn lines don't do that. Neither is right or wrong. Its personal preference.

Since I work at home and for the shop this will be great.  I drive an hour one way to the shop. This way I can work from home more easily.  Plus I take on my own jobs as well.

                                                         12 foot long 5 feet wide.

 I have to cover it in batting and then duck cloth and then put on the metal tracks that hold my side rulers. The metal tracks go down each side of the table the full 12 foot length. There is a groove on top of the tracking that holds the yellow ruler. 
Metal tracks that will be installed on the edge of table
 Metal ruler that goes in the top of the tracks. See how legible from both sides.

 Storage under the table for rolls of home decor fabric
Additional storage under the table on the floor for plastic bins.

Table with batting going on top, this is for ironing You iron a lot when you do any type of interior design sewing.
Time to cover in duck canvas. 

 Then you put on your metal tracks that hold your tape measure..
One one end there will be a roll bar system for putting fabric on the roll so I can just roller it out down the table. These bolts of fabric can be super heavy, to heavy to lug laying on the table. We haven't got that done yet.

Since starting this post several days ago, I hit a snag.
I got all done stapling on the cover, with a hand stapler I might add sighhh (air staple gun is ordered, but not arrived yet) and realized that my batting was to puffy I had used. My ruler pins would not stay in the tac board. 
To thick... sighhh... soooo I had to take alllllllll those staples out of the cover and the batting and am now in the process of putting on a much thinner batting. I have no idea why I didn't see this or think of this before I was done stapling it all on. Well the silver lining is that I had not put on the metal tracks and tape measures yet! 

The white capped pins are ruler pins. Which I use a lot when tabling window treatments which is a good portion of window treatments made.
Do you love that metal dish, its magnetic! Honeyman came in with this for me :O)
 The new batting is laying under the ruler and you can see yep its a go. The canvas is not back on yet. As you can see they do exactly what they are called they hold the ruler secure so it can't move, but still allow your fabric to go to the very edge of the ruler. I will never forget the first roman shade I ever made. I was told you have to be precise, 1/8" can make it pull wonky.  Talk about pressure!  ROFL

So anyway this is what I am doing right now. My plan is to get my sewing room completely put back together and organized before my holiday from work is over. That gives me till January 5th.
 I have been working outside in my gardens as well, but then that is a given :O)... 
My onions sets will be here first week of January! 

Christmas Card Kindness post two

This little boy ( Andrew Russell) lives in a town not far from us. He has cancer and would like to get a mail box full of Christmas Cards. He was first diagnosed in 2006 with a rare form of cancer ependymoma a brain tumor that spreads malignant cells through the brain and spinal that time he asked for his mail box to be full of Christmas Cards for him, which happened. Now sadly in 2014 at age 12 he is battling cancer again. He would like Christmas Cards again ...

If you would like to send him a Christmas Card
Send it to
Andrew Russell
PO Box 365
Point, TX 75472

This was on our local news WFAA Channel 8

You may have seen the post I did previous to this. Which I deleted. For some reason the typing on it was not right. Several of the sentences were encased in white boxes and the typing was pale orange. Barely legible. I tried to fix it but it wouldn't fix. So I am re-posting this ..

Daffodils as a mole deterrent

We have tried so many things here to rid our place of moles. Most did nothing.

Photo borrowed from the Net.
 As stated in other post I do use wire bottomed raised beds, Cage some of my trees and bushes I plant. Another thing we use is Daffodils. Yep plain old daffodils. When doing research for the 900th time on how to get rid of moles I stumbled onto "daffodils" would send them packing..That they would turn moles away. I did some research to see if this seemed to be true or a old wives tale. 

Well I found a few blogs of people swearing this had in fact worked for them. They showed what they had done. Were very happy with the results....most said like me, they didn't think it would help but gave it a try. etc etc.. So I figured what can it hurt, the flowers will be pretty, nothing to loose but some of my time to plant them right... so I did a test, a pretty big one to start luck would have it was the time of year bulbs were on clearance here..I started planting the bulbs in all the raised tunnels in my yard.  The moles got so mad.. whew they threw temper tantrums.. I had mole hills not just tunnels and not just one or two hills LOL... I had them alllllll over the place popping up like crazy for a couple days. Looked like a tick tac toe board of dirt hills alllll over the place. My first thought was oh no not only did it not work but they like them! Well no they didn't like them. They were tunneling to get away from the bulbs. They even pushed a few bulbs up onto the ground they were so mad LOL... Not a nibble on a daffodil bulb though. I promptly stuck those bulbs right back down in the hole they came out of! So I was thinking ok this may just work. They seemed to stay out of the areas and away from the shrubs where I had planted the bulbs. :O)

So soon as the the daffodils bulbs went on clearance that next season . I bought several 100 bulbs again. I planted them every where I could find a mole tunnel and around existing shrubs or things that I did not know to cage when I planted them etc... Low and behold the moles stopped eating the roots off those shrubs too. Then for almost a year the mole activity in our yard was hardly there at all.... so cool!

The bonus in the spring its quite the site around here... Since then I have planted more and more and we are up over 1200 bulbs now... I always manage to get them on clearance for not much money and I just buy several hundred when I do.  As they start to multiply and need dividing I will do so and plant them elsewhere on the property... Where we live I do not have to lift bulbs in the winter or this would not be a option obviously ... All of my bulbs stay in the ground year around. 

Is this fool proof, not 100% no. But it has worked well enough that I feel I can plant something and not cage it IF I put a bunch of daffodil bulbs around it. Its been working and I am tickled.

I just finished doing just that with my Fuyu persimmon trees I just planted. I am banking on the daffodils. I have seen them work. I know they will make the moles go the other way. So when I planted my bare root fuyu trees I did not put a wire cage in the ground. Daffodils don't fail me now!

Actually I used them around a fig tree as well that I did not cage and it worked! The moles love the roots on fig trees for some reason. I have lost a lot of fig trees trying to get one started here. I thought it was a water and heat issue but then figured out the moles was just as involved in the demise of all those fig trees!

Luckily this time of year bulbs are on clearance and this is also the time of year I would be planting trees and such. I found these 75% off ...The Allium are not for the moles. Those are just cuz I couldn't pass them up at $1.75 cents a pkg of 10.  All these bulbs were in great condition. The big bags of Daffodils are 50 count bags, I bought six bags. They were on clearance for $5.00 a bag. 

 So I sliced two rings around each Fuyu tree with the shovel and then got to work planting the bulbs. One thing about our dirt being sandy is its easy to dig in. That is one of the same reasons we have moles so bad. Its kinda a catch 22. But it does usually make digging in it easy, so that is nice.
Kinda hard to see them but there are the two rings.
Then in go the bulbs 
I can just scoop out the dirt with my hands since I made the slice into the ground with the shovel.  Push back the dirt onto the bulbs and done. It took one bag of 50 bulbs to do the two rings around each tree. So I used 200 of the 300 bulbs I bought on my four fuyu trees. Think how pretty this will be with daffodils coming up in rings under the fuyu trees! Come spring I will get photos of alllll the daffodils around here :O)

The bulbs in these big count bags are always so big! How cool are these! Two covered my hand from wrist to finger tip. ThoughI do have small hands, still they are huge bulbs.
One the size of my palm

Over coming gardening obstacles where you live.

Where I live... North East Texas.... we have some good things and some bad things to deal with as far as gardening goes. I am sure this could be said by anyone. I have learned over the years there are many obstacles to gardening. But if its something you love and want to do bad enough, you will figure out a way.

Didn't really have photos for this post so here is a photo of whats being over wintered in my little greenhouse.

Someone ask what size our farm is. We live on a small farm of 27 acres. However, the amount of land I use for gardening is less than 2 acres, quite a bit less than 2 but probably a bit over one.  The reason I haven't used more of the property is simple. 
 Obstacle No. 1 Water.... Getting water to the area and having enough water. You see we do not have a water well. We are on county water, we buy our water.
Here where we live rain is scarce. When you have the heat we do and the lack of rain we do that can make it tough.  
Water Solution part one  Over the last few years we have cut our water bill drastically! :O). Actually we have managed to get it lower than a lot of people we know that don't garden! So I am feeling really good about this!  I did a post on the method we have been putting into place for gardening here. The gentlemen lives in a area that gets even less rainfall than we do and he raises a lot of things. Granted he doesn't get the heat to the level and length of time we do,, but his ideas are solid I think and have proven to be very When I watched the video online it was free to watch, I assume it still is. Its very long so get a cup of tea and a snack. We cannot always get wood chips, so we use a lot of hay! Hay is what we can easily get. Plus I have read that hay actually puts a lot of good stuff back in your soil. No I do not have a issue with it seeding and coming up in my gardens.  But you know you should use what you can get and think is right for you! If you can get wood chips great, if you can get straw easy great, for us its hay! I would love to be able to always get the wood chips from the tree trimmers but seems lot of folks are after those LOL. When the county tree trimmers were in the area.. They had 4 farms on our short dead end road saying please dump your chips on our land. LOL . I am sure there were others in the area on other roads asking for them too.  We were lucky we got 2 loads. They all went in the fruit orchard!

Our gardens are doing sooooo much better and with soooo much less water! Example I watered my Knock out Rose fence around my orchard not once last year! Nope not one time. I watered our fruit orchard I think it was twice. Yes only twice.  I have a make shift water system set up in it, it was all I knew how to do so its what I did. I took a 100foot water hose. I pierced a hole in it at each tree. When I do water I turn on my water and I water low and slow. So every drop sinks in right at the base of the trees.  I will do a regular true drip irrigation set up in there after my class. The water hose set up has some issues but hey its worked till I can learn to set up a proper system.

Solution part two Keep learning! I am taking a irrigation course at a local college,  just need to figure which month is my best to do it. Honeyman found out about it and said you should take this. I said yes I should!  I think that will be great for watering exactly where I need to with a drip irrigation system. Learning is just part of gardening and well anything in my book.  I love to read and research things! I learn a lot from fellow bloggers.  My best bud and I have found ourselves a class on grafting and air layering and other forms of propagation. Its not till Feb. 2015. The weather may or may not let me make the trip down there 3.5 hours drive and then the class is 1.5 hours from her. Hopefully it will!  This is something we have both wanted to learn how to do for quite some time.  In the meantime I am reading up on this!

Water Solution part three Another thing I do is try to select varieties of things that take less water and can tolerate our extreme heat.  What is right for our climate. This will save you a lot of grief.

Obstacle No. 2 Moles!!! ... arggg- grrrrrr. We have them in spades where we live. LOL Don't leave me a comment saying moles only eat grubs and not plant roots or such. Cuz I might in a moment of unclear thinking delete it ROFL ROFL.. I have seen with my own eyes a chard plant be jerked down into a mole hole like a cartoon on TV, literally while I am standing in my garden!!! They not only will eat the roots off plants they will take the whole darn plant! I have had fully developed squash plants loaded with squash doing so well... only to find them from one day to the next dead nearly... There they lay wilted covered in what would have been a nice crop of squash... why... because you can simply pick up the whole plant easily.. the roots have been eaten off by moles ... 

Solution  raised beds with wire bottoms. Wire cages for fruit trees or bushes ... and also more recently daffodils!!! Yes Daffodils will run them off.  I was tickled to find it was true! I have over 1200 daffodil bulbs planted here all over the place and I plant more every year! Daffodils wont kill them but they don't like them at all!  I do anything I can that I see works to run those fellas off!

Obstacle No. 3  Oh lets not forget the humidity, it can be a issue with plants and humans,,, whew .. oh ya a 100 plus degree day with 85% 90% humidity that is always fun NOT! We don't get quite the humidity every day here that Houston does but we get a lot here on to many days.  I am a runner and I can tell you there are times when I have gone for my run and I have told honeyman..its like breathing through a wet wash cloth. Not fun. This same humidity makes it hard on some plants as well. So when I research a plant if it says it can tolerate humidity and heat and is drought tolerant once established. Bingo I am... Luckily I do ok with the humidity, it makes it harder for sure to deal with the heat on those days but people that have asthma or such really struggle with it.  It reallllly makes it hard for them to be outside doing stuff. 
No solution, just deal with it.

What are your obstacles? How do you deal with them?

Skittles, Cubey  and part of our front pasture area.

It's all about the dirt...some elephant garlic and blackberries for a twist

This time of year I am mowing and bagging leaves. I add them to my garden rows or I use them to pile onto already planted things for mulch/ moisture retention. Moisture retention has become a passion here at our farm. Its paying off ten fold too!

Leaves are like free gold as far as a garden goes.
Below are two beds. To the beds I have added a good layer of leaves I mowed up, a good amount of compost and then a layer of dirt I actually got off mole hills on our property. Darn moles are not good for one thing,  but they do dig up nice loose piles of dirt that are easily scooped up! I go around with my wheel barrow and a shovel or I take the four wheeler and drive the property with the little red trailer attached and scoop up dirt. 

The below beds will be my onions rows. I ordered from Dixondale farms (  my onions starts for this year. I ordered 6 bundles, each bundle has 50 to 70 starts in it. Sounds like a lot I know.  But we use a lot of onions and since I didn't plant many last year. We are out of fresh, out of frozen and down to a piece of one big jar of dried.... we have been buying organic fresh to get us through...Yep this year I need to grow a bunch. Dixondale Farms is a Texas company/farm, I have ordered from them before and was very happy with my starts. Also I need my onions starts the first of January and I can get them from them then! Being Texas based they know we plant our onions then!

Ok back to the dirt, I add the leaves and the compost and the dirt and mix it into what is in the bed. Because we use raised beds with wire bottoms ( moles you know)  I can tell easily when I need to add dirt an such. LOL I sometimes wonder where does it go? It can be full to the brim and in two years time its down by half. 
The photo below the front part of this bed is done. where the little pile is you see is where I will continue on adding compost to the leaves and then some dirt from the farm. Mixing good as I go. Yep lots of work. 
These beds below, I have dumped leaves in the front end of this one row. I have a long way to go on these beds. These are the beds I am digging up the raspberries from... to rehome elsewhere... whew.. I have some volunteer garlic coming up in them :O).  Oh I would just like to throw in my new 50% shade cover cloth was great this last year. My vegetables all seemed to love it a lot! I don't know what I would do without my shade covers for my veggy gardens!

the bed below I have added leaves but no compost or dirt yet. This year is a big job for filling the front garden beds with compost, leaves, dirt......

Speaking of garlic, this is some elephant garlic I planted in my back garden (which I do not have to fill the beds this year) woowhoo, the leaves in this bed just fell right into the bed and will stay since they fell there. Cool that was easy right! I planted a lot of elephant garlic this fall. I had some I had saved for seed  that I grew last year. Then I decided I wanted to plant a elephant garlic permanent bed. I read that you could leave it in the ground year around, pull it as you wanted to. The trick apparently is to not water it past July. (we will find out) The thing is when I ordered more elephant garlic to plant, I guess I misunderstood how much I would get for a pound. You order by the pound. Ummmm lets just say I had A LOT of seed garlic to plant ROFL :O)
Mom are you sure we need to do all this work? I might need to rest my eyes a bit, ok? You wake me up if you need me okay. The big white dog will be right here just resting his eyes. 

I raise Kiowa Blackberries and Arapaho and Quachita and a few other .... The Kiowa are by far my best berries! They can take our blasting heat... they can take our west sun! (not much can take our west sun) They are so drought tolerant they lived through 2011 with no babying, if you don't live in Texas 2011 may not mean much to you...  2011 changed the landscape of Texas forever, sadly! Horrrrrrribbbbbble drought and heat. So when you hear someone say here that they have something that lived through 2011 without added help... your ears perk up big time!!

Kiowa is the largest blackberry we grow here in the U.S. and it is huge! They can well, they freeze well. They are not quite as sweet as some of the other varieties but their flavor is very good, very blackberry. When you live somewhere as hot as we are and get no more rain than we do. A little less sweet, no biggy just add another 1/8 cup organic sugar... they are very tasty berries...

The only other thing I should mention... she says with a devilish grin....the large razor sharp thorns they have!!! Oh ya let me tell ya they are wicked mean with those thorns... but again, where I live these babies are great!!! They thrive... My other thorn-less blackberries require a lot more water and can struggle in our extreme heat! Plus the squirrels rob a good portion of those berries grrrr easy pickings no thorns...

They do not even go into the Kiowa berries at all! uh huh ... aforementioned razor sharp thorns!!! Silver lining you see! I have 100 pots pegged off my mother plants! They root super, super easy and they make babies rather quickly on their own :o).. Another plus in my book :O) ... So I will have 100 new plants to put in the ground this next year!
You can see some but not all below in the photo.
see the bright green leaf that is on a new stem that shot up out of the pot that I pegged the original stem in. You just bury part of, in this case I stuck the end of the stem into the pot buried it with compost and wa la a new plant is rooted...Don't cut the original stem loose from the mother plant. Its still attached to the live plant.  My best bud taught me how to peg plants!! I think spring would be best for pegging most things, but these Kiowa seem to be happy to root anytime and they root fast.
Newly rooted plants. I will leave them till this spring, then cut the original stem of the mother plant loose.. leaving the new plant ready to put where I want. 
Pots and pots I pegged off my existing plants. 
the row below by the fence is a new row I started last year from volunteer babies... now I have many pots rotting off those. Kiowas grow fast and produce berries in my experiences the first year. 
I see blackberry wine in my future! :O)